In 2004 Sveta Kovalchuk trekked for 20 days through Siberia. “We lived in tents, without a stove… 20 days we lived on a minimum amount of food,” she wrote to us. “Temperature all the time was minus-20 to minus-27 C.”
Kovalchuk moved to the United States, to Minnesota, two years ago with her young daughter. We know her from the local bike scene as well as her daring winter swimming habit (yes, as in swimming in un-frozen open stretches of lakes in the winter!).
The Siberia trip, which Kovalchuk describes as “20 days of adrenaline,” came to the surface last month when she submitted a photo to a GearJunkie contest. It was so stark and different (see the igloo image below) that we had to dig.
Kovalchuk revealed, “On the Siberia trek I had frostbite on my face, hands and feet. We built an igloo at an altitude of about 3,000 meters and we lived in it for two days. Then there was the ascent of Mount Munku-Sardyk. It was the most wonderful campaign in my life.”
These images below, scanned from photos taken nine years ago, capture that wonder and the frozen, desolate world Siberia is in the heart of the Russian winter.